Illegal cannabis sellers could see sky-high fines under new legislation proposed by Gov. Kathy Hochul on Wednesday, giving state officials greater power to crack down on New York’s illicit pot market.
The bill would set fines up to $10,000 a day for shops that sell cannabis without a license, and businesses found possessing illegal marijuana plants or products could be hit with penalties as high as $200,000, according to the proposed rules.
It would also give the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM), the state agency overseeing marijuana retail licensing, the authority to seize illegal products and allow OCM to shut down unlicensed cannabis retailers.
“The continued existence of illegal dispensaries is unacceptable, and we need additional enforcement tools to protect New Yorkers from dangerous products and support our equity initiatives,” Hochul said in a statement.
Under the proposed law, OCM could investigate any location growing, distributing or selling cannabis that has not been sourced from a legal distributor and taxed. OCM, the attorney general or local police would be able to enforce a preliminary injunction to stop businesses suspected of selling cannabis without a license, according to the bill.
Hochul’s proposal is the latest move in a state and city effort to shutter the thousands of illegal pot shops that have cropped up in New York City, threatening its fledgling legal market.